CTE: Not Just a NFL Concern, but a Sports Concern

CTE: Not Just A NFL Concern But A Sports Concern

The Connection Between Sports and Brain Injuries

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Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive chronic disease in the brain that is found in people with a history of continual brain trauma, is found often in athletes. CTE has been a well covered and controversial issue at the professional football level but has attracted less media coverage in other contact sports despite frequent cases. CTE is not an issue to take lightly, since it is a damaging brain injury that can take an athlete's independence, personality, and life away.

According to the Concussion Legacy Foundation, at least one player has been diagnosed with CTE at up to 147 colleges in America. Of those 147, at least 26 schools have three documented cases. Researchers from the VA Boston Healthcare System and Boston University School of Medicine also published a study finding 190 out of 202 former football players in college or the NFL had CTE, including 66 players showing evidence of CTE who only played college ball.

There are many fans of the NFL, allowing a wide discussion of CTE to be focused, but CTE is not just an NFL problem. CTE is a problem for players at every level, including other contact sports such as soccer, rugby, and hockey, yet the NFL is the driving force behind new research because of their huge budget, funding new studies and deepening the knowledge of CTE. The damage done to an athlete's brain after multiple hits is alarming and should raise concerns to all medical and sports programs, prompting for change in how brain injuries are handled.

Brian Wieder MD, a neurosurgeon who has been in practice for more than 20 years, has had close experience with head traumas in the sports industry, working for the Denver Broncos as their neurosurgeon from 2000-2006. Dr. Wieder was present every game, evaluated players for physicals, and was involved with the treatment and decision of athletes to return to the field.


Dr. Brian Wiederhttps://www.denvermattresshospitality.com/dmh/mattresseducation.jsp


"Medical professionals are not 100 percent sure continuous trauma causes CTE, but have identified an abnormal tau protein. This protein develops in the early stages, near the part of the brain traumatized, and spreads as time goes on, which is why it's considered a chronic disease," said Dr. Wieder, as he explained how this neurodegenerative disorder is very similar to Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

These tau proteins stop the brain from functioning, and have been connected to continuous hits and traumas, developing a relationship between CTE and the development of these proteins. Based on where the protein accumulates, the symptoms of CTE can vary. For example, aggression and impulsiveness is linked to hits to the frontal lobe, and memory loss is linked with hits to the the temporal lobe. Dr. Wieder also highly suspects a factor other than brain trauma is in play, with some people possibly being at a higher risk due to minor anatomic differences, hereditary susceptibility, and possibly to genetics.

Additionally, chronic traumatic encephalopathy causes symptoms such as memory loss, impulsive behavior, bad judgment, aggression, depression, paranoia, emotional instability, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts or behavior. First discovered in boxers, CTE was first referred to as "punch drunk" connecting to these athlete's continuous head trauma. Unfortunately, CTE cannot be diagnosed until after the person dies and the brain can be inspected, with no treatment or diagnosis. With no cure or treatment available for CTE, athletes need to consider their lives outside of sports, and note that the damage they may encounter on the field will change who they are as a person in a negative way, if not kill them in the process.


The damage done on the field will change a player in a negative wayhttps://unsplash.com/photos/4FXhqFqvdV8


"In American sports, athletes need to be honest with themselves first, as well as supervising coaches and parents, acknowledging the full extent that a symptomatic injury is paramount in preventing premature return to play and in keeping their health in mind. Athletes needs to be educated at an early age of the serious and long term consequences that come with brain impact injuries, and should be informed on what is known regarding minor traumatic brain injury in order to make decisions about what is right for themselves and their health within their sport," comments Dr. Wieder, who believes more research needs to be carried out before we begin to limit these sports, as we can't add significant rule changes or equipment without proving the benefit of that change.

Factors involved in CTE need to be better understood before change can be initiated, and Dr. Wieder suggests we begin initiating change through teaching and changing the perception of brain injuries through reeducation. CTE is a bigger problem than just the lawsuits in the NFL, but a life threatening issue that can lead to death. The stigma around brain injuries needs to evolve to a more serious tone, especially amongst athletes.

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Hailey Miller's Debut Single Is 'The One'

"The One" is available now across all streaming platforms.

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Being able to blend genres well is a true testament to a great artist, and Hailey Miller has done just that. Breaking onto the pop-country scene with her debut single "The One", the song speaks to the lessons that come out of unfortunate heartbreak, and definitely resonates with people going through one. I got the chance to talk with Hailey about her music, Nashville, and plans for the future:

1. What inspiration did you pull from to write "The One"?

"The One" was inspired by a relationship I was in. It was young love, not the healthiest relationship, and was dragged on for way longer than it should've been. I'd pretty much worked through all the heartbreak by the time it was fully over, and this song felt like the final piece to the puzzle. To acknowledge that some good came from the whole experience, and that lessons were learned. It just kind of poured out of me. It was exactly what I needed at the time. I wrote it and instantly felt peace. Like I could finally let it all go. It's a different kind of breakup anthem, and I hope that people can connect to it in the same way I did.

2. Do you tend to pull from personal experience to write or do you write using a third person perspective?

I definitely prefer to write from personal experience. I've written from a third person perspective, but it always feels more genuine for me to write about things I've been through first hand. It's just easier! It flows better, and feels more honest. Especially if I'm planning on using the song for myself. As an artist, I always want the truths I'm speaking to be genuine. I feel like people connect better that way. If I can't fully connect to the stuff I'm singing, how can I expect the listeners to? Personally, as an artist, the stories behind my songs are just as important to me as the song itself. That being said, if I can connect to someone else's experience deeply, writing third person can be just as fun!

3. What has your experience been like being a woman in the music industry?

You know, I don't have anything negative to say about my experience so far. I've felt respected as an artist from almost everyone I've personally come across in the industry. This being said, I'm very aware of the challenges females tend to face on a larger scale, especially in country. But I try to not let it phase me. In my mind, I'm just an artist…not a "female artist".

4. Growing up in Oregon, what/who inspired you to move to Nashville and write country music?

My earliest inspiration was definitely my aunt. She was singing country music professionally when I was super young, so I grew up seeing that and my family was super good about surrounding me with all sorts of music. My dad had this thing where he would always tell me to "listen to the words" and then at the end of the song I'd have to tell him what I thought it was about. It made me realize at a young age that music isn't just sound, it's stories. I fell in love with country music and its stories. Then came along these powerhouse female singer/songwriters…like Taylor Swift, and that was it. I knew it was something I wanted to do, and I knew Nashville was the place to do it. So, I learned the guitar, taught myself how to write, and made the move as soon as I possibly could! It's pretty much a 19 year old dream in the making at this point.

5. How has Nashville shaped your artistry and/or songwriting since moving there?

Nashville has already shaped my artistry and songwriting immensely. I think the biggest thing is being around so many talented artists and writers. It's super inspiring! Every time I go to a show or writer's round in town, I go home wanting to work even harder. That's the magic about Nashville. In a place where the industry could feel very competitive, the community is so amazing that instead of feeling intimidated, I feel inspired. I think that's so cool. Being able to learn your craft in an environment like that, where everybody is willing to collaborate and learn from each other. There's no room to sit still and not work hard. I think that alone has made me a better artist and writer. I've discovered my own unique writing style and sound, and can't wait to develop it even more.

6. What has your experience been like releasing your first single independently?

It's been amazing! I've had the best time with it. The process was so fun, and such a learning experience. Since it was my first release, I tried to go into it with little to no expectations and I've been blown away! The support I've received is beyond what I ever expected, and people are listening!! That's all I could've ever asked for. I think putting out music for any artist, independent or not, is always a little scary because there's this fear that people won't connect to such a personal part of you. There's so much work behind the scenes that goes into it. But it is so rewarding to read people's messages about how they connect or relate to the song. It's the best feeling in the world!

7. What are your future goals and aspirations within the music industry?

I ultimately just want to keep writing and putting out music that I love, and that other people love. Whether that's on a small scale level, or a larger scale. As long as I'm continuing to make music, I'm happy! That being said, I'd love to do some touring soon, and work towards my first EP/full length album.

8. Do you have plans to release new music soon?

Plans are in the works. I don't have a definitive date for you guys quite yet, but new music is on its way! I've been writing tons and I have some stuff that I'm dying to get out. I'd keep an eye out in the upcoming months for sure.

Listen to "The One" across all streaming platforms now and keep an eye out for future music from Hailey!


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Why You Should Go To The Barre

Keep your head high and your heels even higher!

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After going back and forth trying to decide if I wanted to try a barre class, last month I finally decided to. And let me tell you, it is one of the best decisions I have made for not only myself but my body! I tried my first class at Barre N9ne in Andover, Massachusetts (with multiple location in Woburn, Somerville, and Danvers), and I truly don't think I could have found a better studio. From the moment you walk into the studio there is a great vibe and the instructors are so informative and caring. If you are in the area, I highly recommend Barre N9ne!

It Is A Full Hour To Yourself

My favorite part of barre is it is an hour to myself. No phone, no distractions, just working to improve myself with each set. When I go to the gym whether I am lifting weights or running on the treadmill at some point I am on my phone responding to a text or changing the song I am listening to. During barre, I don't even think about who texted me or what email I have to respond to. It is complete me time.

The BEST Core Workout

During barre, your core is engaged the entire time. Then, at the end of the workout there is 5-7 minutes of actual core workouts. This makes it one of the best core workouts because instead of just focusing on your core for a few minutes, you are engaging it throughout the class and then additionally at the end.

You Will Gain Strength and Definition 

A typical barre class is a full body workout and over time you will gain strength and see definition. It takes about 5 classes to start seeing results. By strengthening each muscle group, you are not only gaining definition you are also strengthening all muscles (even the ones that are often underused and underdeveloped).

You Will Become More Flexible 

After each muscle group worked on, you will stretch. This is something that is often overlooked because people don't want to take the time to stretch during a workout and save it until the end, or even not at all. The amount of stretching done in a barre class will improve your range of motion and help to reduce any risk of injuries.

Mind Body Connection

During class you will often hear your instructor say to "focus on the mind body connection". But, what is it? Well, when you focus your attention on the muscle you are working, you tend to work harder and more effectively. This then gives you faster results. When you then focus on that muscle group and stop focusing on all the background noise of your stressful day, or what you have to do after class, or that big test next week, you are really able to focus in and have the best workout.

Your Muscles Will Shake (In A Good Way)

Barre utilizes micro movements. Meaning, since you preform many reps of the same movement involving specific muscles in barre, you are then working your muscles to exhaustion. When your muscles are exhausted, they start to shake. If you aren't shaking, work harder!

Through every pulse, squeeze, and tuck enjoy your time during barre. I hope you give barre classes a try because I know I don't regret it and I know you won't either.

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